Sea Scouts from Northeast Region dominate at 2018 Koch Cup sailing event

A pair of Sea Scouts from Cambridge, Mass., took home the top prize at last week’s 2018 William I. Koch International Sea Scout Cup in Galveston, Texas.

The international sailing regatta has been held every two years since 2002, but this was its first time in the Lone Star State. Sea Star Base Galveston hosted 64 participants from 10 countries.

The team of Max Katz-Christy, skipper, and Thomas Craciun, crewman, out-sailed fellow Americans, as well as teams from Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland and South Africa.

2018 Koch Cup winners Thomas Craciun (left) and Max Katz-Christy.

Max and Thomas are members of Sea Scout Ship 131, aka “Brutus,” of the Spirit of Adventure Council. Their first and only Sea Scout-sanctioned race was the qualification for the Koch Cup. Months later, they’re champions.

The Koch Cup win by an American team means the trophy is back on U.S. soil after a two-year absence. In the 2016 Koch Cup, Sea Scouts from New Zealand took the top prize — the first non-American winners in event history.

The Kiwi Cup

A Northeast Region team won the second-tier Kiwi Cup, as well.

Skipper Robert Gustke of Bridgeport, N.Y., and Crewman Andrew York of Baldwinsville, N.Y., earned the carved statue that honors that event’s winners.

Robert and Andrew are members of Sea Scout Ship 876, aka “Cricket,” of the Longhouse Council. Both are Eagle Scouts.

More about the event

While competitive sailing was the reason Sea Scouts set a course for the Texas coast, the event also featured plenty of time to meet new friends and catch up with old ones.

It began with a practice day, followed by a qualification day. Sea Scouts in the top half of the fleet raced for the Koch Cup; the rest battled for the Kiwi Cup.

When the races finished each day, the Scouts gathered to eat, trade stories and play games.

See more photos from the event here.

Meet the winners

Koch Cup, first place: Thomas Craciun (left) and Max Katz-Christy of Massachusetts.
Koch Cup, second place: Oscar Norström (left) and Filipe Blomquist of Finland.
Koch Cup, third place: Isaac Barkley (left) and Andrew Vandling of Texas.
Koch Fleet sportsmanship trophy: Órla Gray (left) and Eamon Gray of Australia.
Kiwi Cup, first place: Robert Gustke (left) and Andrew York of New York.
Kiwi Cup, second place: Yan Ming Lau (left) and Ka Wai Ng of Hong Kong.
Kiwi Cup, third place: Ché-vonne Maré (left) and Devan Garland of South Africa.
Kiwi Fleet sportsmanship trophy: Tess De Wilde Kohler (left) and Nicolette Loeding of Michigan.

History of the Koch Cup

The event has been held biennially since 2002. The original National Sea Scout Sailing Championship began in the 1930s but went dormant when Sea Scouts left the program to serve in World War II.

Koch Cup events and locations:

  • 2018: Sea Star Base Galveston, Galveston, Texas
  • 2016: Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, Calif.
  • 2014: Long Beach Yacht Club, Long Beach, Calif.
  • 2012: California Maritime Academy, Vallejo, Calif.
  • 2010: United States Coast Guard Academy, New London, Conn.
  • 2008: United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.
  • 2006: Coral Reef Yacht Club, Miami, Fla.
  • 2004: Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Buzzards Bay, Mass.
  • 2002: Columbia Yacht Club, Chicago, Ill.

Learn more

Learn more about the 2018 Koch Cup on the official site. This is also where you can find info about the 2020 Koch Cup once the date comes closer.


Photos by Michael Roytek and Randy Piland